Why I support the ARRL, warts and all…

Like any big organization, the ARRL has both a fan-club and detractors, with the fairest take being one somewhere in the middle.

Warts and all the league does get my support, including as a Life Member as:

There is No other real game in town.

Some factional/regional or sub-hobby groups exist, but the ARRL has 99% of the clout in the USA.

Some folk understand the crisis they had caused when they went off ignoring members’ warnings.

Yes, there is leadership within the organization that understands the mistakes of the past, making the ARRL less likely to repeat the errors of their past ways in debacles like Incentive Licensing.

If you don’t get involved you can’t change them.

Simple basic fact, you’re nothing more than a spectator if you don’t get off the sidelines and into the game.  If you don’t like something, get involved and work to make it better!

Even with a lousy website and worse net-strategy they do put out a decent magazine.

The website is dark, dour and went from a personal daily read to a once-a-month dutiful check-out.  QST is fun to read, National Contest Journal likewise.

Do hear rumbles that the ARRL is evaluating going digital subscription like World Radio has done – hope that is just a nasty rumor!  They absolutely spoiled the Contest Rate Sheet with Advertising and HTML that added little to the content.

No alternative with any real weight or capabilities.

Kind of the first point restated.  There just isn’t any viable alternative at the present.

What are your reasons to support the ARRL? Your reasons not to?



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9 thoughts on “Why I support the ARRL, warts and all…

  1. K9SWX - Stan says:

    I have been dreaming of a digital version of QST. I would want it to supplement the print version, not replace it. Being able to have all of the back issues in a searchable digital format instead of filling up bookshelves and boxes would be awesome.Even having a PDF version of QST would be great.

    I do agree though that they need to put more energy into their social media channels and make a more useful website.

  2. Chris Bohn N0RZT says:

    Stan, you can order CD-ROMs with QST PDFs. When ARRL first produced the CD-ROMs, they were in an image format, but for the past few years, they’ve been PDFs. ARRL members can also access PDFs of QST going all the way back to the beginning from the website.

  3. Jeff Davis says:

    Last time I renewed my ARRL membership it was for three years. I don’t intend to renew again when that expires unless there is a digital only option for QST. While you can purchase QST on CD (I have them all) you cannot separate it from the printed magazine and your membership. I ask for this option on an annual basis – let me be a member for $20 or $30 and don’t send me QST in the mail. The ARRL refuses these requests but always says they are “considering something like it”.

    My New Years resolution for 2012 is to dump every publication/membership that doesn’t offer a digital-only option.

    It’s too expensive otherwise. I once faced a choice of tossing 50 years of CQ, QST and 73 mags or build on to the house in order to have room for them.

    I decided to burn them all and collect bits not atoms.

    How silly is it that we cut down a tree, make paper, print on the paper, then burn fossil fuels in order to hand deliver a copy of something to my door that could be sent via email? And then complain when the US postal service doesn’t make a profit!

    Dumb, dumb, dumb.

    Thankfully, CQ now gives me a digital only option and I take it and CQ VHF that way. “All my books and magazines on my Kindle or nothing at all” is my new motto.

    Look for the bumper sticker! :-)

    73, Jeff KE9V

    • k9zw says:

      Appreciate the take from a fellow radio amateur who has fully embraced digital media technology!

      Curious on one point though. Knowing your love of Amateur Radio history & other historic writings, including projects to create new forms of works (Audio) of these old sources, will we leave enough of an record – with permanence & unalterability assured – to provide for such a scholarly review & translation into whatever contemporary medium is popular 75-100 years from now?

      Would seem the electronic only media is very transitory. Maybe that isn’t either all bad?

      Thank you again for taking time to give us a reasoned take for the digital versions!



      • Jeff Davis says:

        I continue to love old books. The texture and smell of old printed paper can’t be duplicated. But I have scanned about 50% of my collection and hope to one day have them all in digital format. Spare space demands these changes for me. And I consider my collection irreplaceable and a home fire or water damage would wipeout a lifetime of collection.

        But I view periodicals in a different light.

        I enjoy reading a magazine, folding the pages and marking it up as much as the next guy. But over time the piles grow and grow and once there’s another decade of QST in the shack I find it difficult to pull the trigger and dump them – so now I read it and toss it – same goes for all other printed mags.

        I appreciate getting QST on CDROM once a year but it’s very expensive when you consider I pay for the printed magazine (via my membership) and then trash the magazines only to pay again for the CDROM. Makes annual membership in the ARRL almost $100.

        The sad part of it is that any reluctance to offering a digital only subscription is based on advertising rates (which have traditionally been linked to mailed copies of a magazine) and the perception that their content will be pirated.

        In all other regards digital publishing is a huge “win” for the publisher since they would never print “too many copies” never pay for printing, never pay for postage and handling, and there would be no unsold returns from bookstores, etc.

        What is going to happen to those who refuse to move into the digital age is that they’re going to fail. As it is, writers are seeing platforms like the Kindle and others as the new frontier – who needs a publisher – book or magazine – if a writer can sell directly to his/her readers and bypass the publisher altogether and collect ALL of the proceeds instead of a small fee?

        The proliferation of free ham radio news sites and blogs has nearly obviated the need for many ARRL publications as it is… I haven’t bought an ARRL Antenna book in decades – there are 100,000 HF antenna ideas available for free on the Web!

        Things are changing. Like always. :-)

        73, Jeff KE9V

  4. WS4E says:

    The problem with digital is like CQ is doing it is worthless….. they use a DRM encumbered copy-protected format and you will find that in a year or so, those issues are unreadable, or they are only readable if you have this program from this one company to read it, and guess what they will be gone in 10 years, it will no longer support your computer or whatever.

    If its not an open format that I can save and read forever without any extra software then its total and complete junk.

  5. Bob K0NR says:

    Hey, sooner or later, the ARRL will be dragged into the world of digital publishing. Look, they just totally upgraded their web site —- well, uh, maybe that’s not a good example :-)

    73, Bob K0NR

  6. Terry Mowles says:

    I just got my copy of the 2011 Periodical CD. All I can say is, if the digital edition is like the CD, then it will be a waste of time.

    There is obviously no quality control goes into producing the CD. Far too many of the graphics in all magazines are unrecognizable because of the compression used. All the QEX’s on the CD have 5 blank pages tacked onto the end.

    Terry VK5TM

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